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How To Use An Emergency Whistle.

Bushcraft survival whistle

A whistle is a useful item to have in a wilderness emergency situation.

While you can certainly call out for help, it is only a matter of time before you strain your voice. So carrying and knowing how to use emergency whistle is important tool in your bushcraft and survival skills.

How to use an emergency whistle in the field.

One way to use the whistle for an emergency is, to use the distress signal of three blasts to get help.

The general international whistle code is:

One blast: “Where are you?”

Two blasts: “Come to me.”

Three blasts:
“I need help.”

Pause after the whistle blasts sequence, to hear any reply.


Safety when camping and the outdoors.

Leave a note and tell your family or friends, (Not people you are going backpacking with.) where you are exactly going and when you are expected to return.

Talk to your group or children, about when to use the whistle and how many blasts and how to respond the blast.

Also explain that on still nice weather conditions the sound will carry a long way. In bad windy and rainy conditions, the whistle blast might not carry as far. But will travel further then yelling.

Practicing blowing the whistle is good fun for the children and helps know exactly what to do in an emergency situation. (Bad for the parents as the children have a knack of blowing it too close and loud to the parent.)


When to carry it?

Backpacking or hiking in any remote area, the safety whistle is good to have on you.

As well as in your camping gear survival kit, a safety whistle is ideal to include in your Kayak Fishing Safety Gear.

The whistle is small enough and weighs little and should be included in your EDC (Everyday Carry.) kit or Bug-Out Bag.

As per below image: A small whistle might even be attached to your keychain survival kit.

Keychain survival kit whistle


Attach a whistle to your fly-fishing vest, life jacket, take one skiing or scuba diving, or have one in your pocket when hiking.


Pea whistle vs pealess whistle.

A whistle designed with the pea in it, may freeze up if dunked in the cold water. So for boating, canoeing and around waterways, a pealess whistle might be a better option for colder areas.


How loud?

This will depend on brand, design, wind and weather conditions, the person using it, etc. As a general rule most good whistles will be in a range of 100 decibels to 120 decibels or more.

Test the whistle first, so you know how noisy or ineffective it is, before you put it away in your gear.


What brand whistle? False economy.

You might have to buy three or four cheap whistles to get one that sounds loud enough. So you might be better just getting a brand name one for a start.

Brands like Fox40, UST, SOL and other known survival gear and safety brands might be worth looking at.

Emergency survival whistle.

Above, left to right: Fox40 Sharx Whistle (120 dB.), Fox40 Sonic Blast (120 dB.), Fox40 Micro (110 dB.) The Micro is flatter than the other two whistles.


Summary – How to use an emergency whistle.

An audible signal for emergencies, such as a safety whistle is ideal as the sound can carry for miles in the right conditions.

Blowing the whistle with three blasts, is an internationally recognized distress signal for help.

The whistle is another survival tool to know how to use. Whether you are hunting, fishing, hiking or practicing your bushcraft skills, a whistle is light weight and should be in your survival kit.